Can an employer rightfully fire you for numerous absences even though you have Dr excuses and drs orders excusing you from work and from going to work?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can an employer rightfully fire you for numerous absences even though you have Dr excuses and drs orders excusing you from work and from going to work?

I work for a major retailer and have missed quite a few days from work due to illnesses, mostly due to a having an extremely bad cold or bad case of the flu. I have doctor’s excuses for them. And the doctor has also excused me from going to work the next day so that I can recover and not get anyone else sick. This is something beyond my control. Aren’t they breaking the law by not accepting or excusing my absences with a doctor’s excuse? Isn’t a doctor’s excuse supposed to legally excuse an employee from work? What action, if any, may I take?

Asked on March 16, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

In most jurisdictions, if an employee is occassionally out sick, they have no legal protection. This is true whether or not they present their employer with a doctor's note. The laws relating to employee absences only afford protection if they have a serious medical condition or an illness relating to a disability (see below). The fact is that most employment is "at will"; this means that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. Accordingly, an employee can be fired for being out sick, for any reason or no reason at all. Therefore, your employer's action was legal unless it violated the terms of a union agreement/employment contract, constituted some form of actionable discrimination or you had sufficient PTO to cover your absences but such time was not honored.
That having been said, under the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act), if an employer has at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius of the work site, the employee has worked at least 1 year, and they have worked at least 1,250 hours in the past year, the employee is entitled to up to 12 weeks of leave for a "serious" medical condition. Also, an employee may be affored protection from absences under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) if they were out sick due to a disability (which includes surgery, chemo treatment, etc.).
At this point, you may want to consult directly with an employment law attorney. After hearing the full facts of your case they can best advise you further.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption